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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

River Time

About the only luxury that we had where we were based was a manmade canal that came off of the Helmand River and ran right through the center of our camp. The river came down from the mountains, so even when it was 125 degrees outside, you could always count on the river to cool you off. When we first started operating, we would spend every single hour of the day that wasn't on missions down at the river. It had a pretty swift current, so guys would jump/dive/flip off of the bridge going over it and then let the current carry them down about 100 yards to a second bridge that we would grab and use to pull ourselves up and out.

Everything centered around the river. Bottles of water so hot you can't drink them? Take them to the river and float em for a while. Need to do laundry? Go to the river. Smell like patrol? Go bathe in the river. Need to work on that tan? River. Used to swim in high school? Jump in and try to swim against the current. Everything centered around it.

That everything included Man-Love Thursday. This one is kind of strange to explain and even stranger for people who've never been there to understand. Here it goes. The Afghan culture is extremely different from ours (gross understatement). I won't get into specifics, but lets just say it is not uncommon for men to openly lust after one another. There were many awkward moments where the Afghan soldiers would sit there and blatantly watch Marines bathe in the river, and many times they would have the interpreters let certain Marines know that they had admirers. It was weird. Real weird. And for whatever reason, it got worse every Thursday. Never quite firgured that one out.

John and Josh, displaying the champion crab that they caught. Yes, yes they did eat it.
Tim doing laundry down at the river
This is the bridge you had to grab onto to pull yourself out of the river. If you missed this guy you'd float right out of the base.
Floating down the world's most dangerous water park.
This is the structure that we'd dive off of into the river, it was about 6ft deep at this point. The laundry and bathing was done in the background of the photo. If you look close enough, you'll see a little shack hovering over the river. That's where the Afghan soldiers would go to the bathroom, yep, just down stream from where we were bathing. Oh, and they'd watch each other use it. Weird.
Just hanging out.

This is a video of an ANA soldier that walked up to Tim while he was showering at a one of the smaller bases we worked at. The ANA took the hose and wanted to bathe Tim for him. Totally normal.

I'm impressed


  1. Thank you! On this Veteran's Day and every day!

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 11/11/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. The river looks like great fun - it reminds me of the river in San Marcos, TX that runs through the college there and is a great gathering place for the students.

    Have a great Veteran's Day and thanks for your service and sacrifice.